Classic Belgian cuisine with a modern twist

The story behind New Regina, a restaurant located in the centre of Ypres, is typical of many of the buildings in this historic Belgian town.

The town itself was virtually destroyed in WW1 and quite a few of the buildings over the years had also fallen into serious disrepair.

The same thing happened here. A hotel/restaurant has been on the same spot for years but, under the previous ownership, the building became terribly rundown.

Happily, that is all in the past and it’s now been given a new lease of life under the new owner, Roger Verschaeve, a former Flemish professional cyclist who also owns a couple of other hotels in Flanders.

After being given an extensive renovation, the restaurant (on the ground floor of a hotel of the same name) reopened earlier this year and has proved a big hit with locals and Ypres’ many overseas visitors who flock here throughout the year.

The refurb involved the place being gutted with the elevator being the only remaining feature, according to head chef Gregory Degraeve.

Gregory, aged 33, actually used to work here for 18 months previously as a sous chef and is amazed at the transformation overseen by Verschaeve, adding, “You would not believe how it has changed.”

Gregory has another good reason for returning to work here, saying, “My grandfather was a big fan of Roger so it’s a special pleasure for me to now work for him.”

The Flemish chef serves a classic Belgo-French cuisine in relaxed surroundings and at very affordable prices.

There are a couple of fixed menus: one priced €35pp comprising a croquette starter, steak for mains and a desert and another one, priced €39pp, with a foie gras starter, pork cheeks for mains and iced coffee.

A third fixed menu, priced just €15, is available at lunchtime only and consists of a soup, mains and coffee.

There is also a la carte to choose from featuring, for example, a beef carpaccio starter, and various pleasant mains such as rib eye, rack of lamb and poor cheeks.

Clearly indicated on the menu, available in English, French and Dutch, are the letters VG (which means served as a starter) or HG (mains).

Other specialists and favourites on the card are a stew of North Sea fish (in a puff pastry crust and served with mashed potatoes) and a duo of baked scallops and prawns, with a mixture of mushrooms and truffle sauce. The cote l’os (for two) is also popular. Kids are well catered for and there’s a nice wine selection as well.

Considering the quality the prices are great, starting from just €20 for a mains for example.

The restaurant is open 7/7 and can seat up to 50 people. The hotel itself has 29 rooms and is almost fully booked until the New Year.

The restaurant manager says the aim is to serve customers “as you’d like to be served yourself.”

The idea in the restaurant is to offer classic cuisine with a modern twist.

The Fleming, who rejoined the business only in August, says the place was burdened by a “bad name” until being taken over by Verschaeve.

The happy news is that is that, under the guidance of this former top cyclist, the place is now gearing up for a successful new chapter in its long history.

New Regina

Grote Markt 45, Ypres

057 690 090

www.newregina.be

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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